When the coalition government published its Transforming Legal Aid green paper in 2013 the Haldane Society was among the first to call for lawyers to take united direct action to stop the plans. More than that, we argued for a broad-based campaign bringing together lawyers, charities, trade unions, activists and the public. We worked closely with the Justice Alliance which continues to do so much to ally people and groups who care about and need legal aid. We saw the paper for what it was: a deliberate and targeted assault on a vital pillar of the welfare state.
Last year the professions achieved the previously unthinkable and organised successful days of action and a policy of no returns. We should have confidence that it can succeed once more. We opposed the deal and we condemn the Criminal Bar Association’s recent backsliding in the face of an incontrovertible mandate for further direct action. Yet we remain of the view that its role in negotiating with the Government is key. But only in unison with solicitors.
Therefore we welcome the convening of a meeting by the Criminal Law Solicitors Association and London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association on Monday 29 June at Garden Court Chambers whose aim is to forge a common defence against these cuts. We urge all criminal law professionals to attend and to unite in our opposition to the damaging cuts and the dual contract scheme.